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The Lesser Florican: India's Endangered Grassland Bird



  May 04, 2024

The Lesser Florican: India's Endangered Grassland Bird



What is the Lesser Florican?

The Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) is a bird species belonging to the Bustard family, and is the smallest bustard in India. It is a characteristic bird of grasslands, endemic to the Indian subcontinent.

What is its habitat?

The Lesser Florican inhabits grasslands and grassland-like habitats, including certain croplands. It prefers areas with tall grasses and good ground cover, and is often found in regions with seasonal rainfall.

What are its local names?

The Lesser Florican has various local names in different parts of India, reflecting its appearance and behavior. Some of these names include:

- Kharmor (grass peacock) in Gujarat
- Khar titar (grass pheasant) in Rajasthan
- Kharmore (grass peacock), Katkatya (referring to the sound it makes during courtship displays), and Phudakadya (referring to its jumping during courtship displays) in Rajasthan

What are its physical characteristics?

Males and females can be distinguished by their physical features. Young birds have a prominent U-shaped marking near their throat. The Lesser Florican has a brownish-grey plumage, with a black neck and white patches on its wings.

What is its behavior?

Individuals are generally solitary and shy, and have a territorial nature. During the breeding season, males perform a unique leaping display to attract females.

What is its conservation status?

The Lesser Florican is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, with a population decline of almost 80% between 2000 and 2018. Its population is estimated to be less than 250 individuals.

Where is it found?

The Lesser Florican inhabits the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and parts of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Its range is fragmented, and it is often found in small, isolated populations.

What are the threats to its survival?

The Lesser Florican faces several threats, including:

- Habitat loss and fragmentation due to agriculture, urbanization, and other human activities
- Hunting and poaching
- Collision with power lines and wind turbines
- Climate change, which affects its breeding and feeding habits

Supreme Court of India gave orders for its protection in 2024.



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